The World Maritime University (WMU) has a longstanding commitment to empowering women in the maritime and ocean communities. The most recent result is the newly released WMU Journal of Maritime Affairs (JoMA) Special issue on Empowering Women in the Maritime Community. The publication is an outcome of the April 2019 WMU Third Women’s Conference on the 2019 World Maritime Day theme of Empowering Women in the Maritime Community.
The conference brought maritime and ocean stakeholders together at WMU to discuss the common challenge of gender equality and to address the gender gap in the maritime, oceans, ports, fishing and related industries. As a result of the two-day event, over 350 participants from more than 70 countries adopted conclusions identifying 17 actions that could be taken to advance gender balance in the maritime and oceans sectors.
The conclusions serve as best practice guidance for all stakeholders committed to action focused on increasing gender balance across maritime and ocean industries. In addition to the conclusions, the Conference Report, released in September, summarized the most significant outcomes of the Conference by session and speaker.
Regarding the JoMA special issue, Dr. Cleopatra Doumbia-Henry, President of WMU, noted the importance of the conference in putting the spotlight on issues that would otherwise go unnoticed. “Mainstreaming gender in the maritime and ocean professions not only enhances respect for diversity but also raises awareness on the many existing research gaps that need to be addressed.
This issue of the WMU Journal of Maritime Affairs seeks to inspire further research work on gender issues. In this respect, WMU welcomes all those interested to engage further in constructive discussions and dialogue to advance the empowerment of women in the maritime and ocean communities,” she said.
The JoMA special issue on Empowering Women in the Maritime Community is a continued effort by WMU to promote gender studies in the maritime and ocean affairs, nearly five years after the third volume of the WMU Book Series, “Maritime Women: Global Leadership” was published in 2015. Since then, the landscape of maritime research surrounding women and men has changed in many respects, including the growing attention to oceans research, the impact of digitization on maritime jobs, and low/zero emissions from ships and ports.
The JoMA special issue features interdisciplinary research across the articles to bridge gender and sustainability issues in the maritime and ocean communities. Wide dissemination of this special issue is appreciated to shed more light on effective ways to empower women in the maritime and ocean communities.
Since the University was founded in 1983, WMU has been striving for improving gender balance in maritime and ocean-related fields in higher education and research. Female student representation at WMU has improved significantly from 3% in 1983 to 34% in 2019 in the MSc programme in Maritime Affairs delivered in Malmö, Sweden, and the Class of 2019 in the WMU
MSc in International Transport & Logistics programme delivered in Shanghai, China, achieved gender parity.